French Songs : The 10 you should have listened to ! | Linkaband ©

French Songs : The 10 you should have listened to !

For some unknown reason, the French accent seems to be particularly appreciated all over the English-speaking countries. Even if their songs are nothing compared to the smashing British and American business, some have made their way to the ears across the Atlantic and the North Sea. Here are some of the classics everybody has already heard at least once !

Photo de Paris, la seine, et la Tour Eiffel au coucher du soleil

1. Edith Piaf - La vie en rose (1946)

It was in 1945, at the end of the war, that the singer Edith Piaf recorded the song La vie en rose. This title, of which everyone knows the refrain, will become the French reference internationally. The famous artist sings to music composed by her pianist Louiguy. The lyrics are about love and the happiness felt when you are in love.

At that time she was in a relationship with Yves Montand and gave him the paper on which she wrote the first lyrics of this timeless title. The song appears in the soundtrack of many films such as Children’s Games, La Môme and more recently A Star Is Born. No more romantic French song, La vie en rose is one of the songs that best transcribes what you feel when you love.

2. Alors on danse – Stromae (2009)

Sold in more than 500 copies across Europe, the hit “Alors on danse” is one of Stromae’s flagship songs. This is also the very first clip of the Belgian star. Written in 2009, the song with pop-electro rhythms actually tells the daily life of a rather stressed office worker who has only one desire: to relax.

3. Jacques Brel - Ne me quitte pas (1965)

How to talk about the French song without quoting Jacques Brel? He is a Belgian songwriter born in 1929 and died in 1978. His famous song “Ne me quitte pas”, released in 1959 and co-signed by his pianist Gérard Jouannest, is one of the great classics of music.

This famous French song tells the story of a couple going through a breakup. It evokes the suffering of a man in love who sees the woman he loves to move away. This music is probably about singer Suzanne Gabriello, with whom her relationship ended some time ago. Despite the passing years, “Ne me quitte” pas continues to be part of the best of our musical repertoire.

4. En Bande Organisée - 13’Organisé (2020)

August 15, 2020 the track hit France like a bombshell that no one saw coming. In the midst of a summer troubled by a global pandemic that has put all concerts on hold, the rapper JuL and his seven bandmates send in the super-powerful “Organized Band”.

It is performed by several rappers from Marseille : Jul, SCH, Kofs, Naps, Soso Maness, Elams, Houari et Solda.

5. Charles Aznavour - La Bohème (1966)

Charles Aznavour, is a singer-songwriter. The musician was born in Paris in 1924 and died in Mouriès in 2018. Several of the titles he recorded have left their mark. The best known remains La Bohème, released in 1965 and co-written with Jacques Plante.

This song became famous very quickly and sold more than two hundred thousand copies in France. The lyrics are about a painter who evokes with emotion his youthful years spent in the mythical district of Montmartre. Charles Aznavour will re-interpret this piece several times with different international artists.

6. Renaud - Mistral Gagnant (1985)

Renaud, also called the Phenix, recorded the hit in 1985 after his wife, who greatly appreciated this piece, told him on the phone: “If you don’t record it, I’m leaving you...”. Still very present on our radios, Mistral Gagnant is considered in 2015 as the favorite song of the French. Through this piece the singer takes us into his memories, evoking with nostalgia the sweets of his childhood.

The name of the popular French song refers to the name of a confectionery store that no longer existed when the track was released. The tube dedicated to his daughter, Lolita Séchan, continues to be broadcast on many radio stations such as Nostalgie and Chérie Fm and has been taken up by more than fifteen artists including Lara Fabian, Jean-Louis Aubert and Grand Corps Malade.

7. Ca plane pour moi – Plastic Bertrand (1977)

In 1977 Bert Bertrand, a rock journalist who embodied the Belgian microcosm of punk during the second half of the 1970s, challenged his producer friend Lou Deprijck (singer of the group Two Man Sound) to record the first French-speaking punk song.

By the greatest of accidents, a chance unique in the annals of music, the piece became number 1 in 31 countries. It has sold 20 million copies. Used in pubs for insurance, shoes, whiskey or even, most recently, baby diapers. Also on the big screen or in trailers, we heard him in The Wolf of Wall Street by Scorsese, Barb wire with Pamela Anderson and War machine with Brad Pitt !

8. Claude François - Alexandrie Alexandra (1977)

Alexandrie Alexandra is a 70s disco hit performed by Claude François nicknamed “Cloclo”. The lyrics were written by Etienne Roda-Gil and the music was composed by Jean-Pierre Bourtayre and Claude François. The lyrics take us on a journey through Egypt, the singer’s birthplace. She talks about the Nile and the famous lighthouse of Alexandria, known to be the seventh wonder of the world. The title has sold more than eight hundred thousand copies in France and continues to make all generations dance today.

9. Pour que tu m’aimes encore - Celine Dion (2005)

Celine Dion was then unknown in France in the beginning of 1990. Even if Celine Dion sings “Pour que tu m’aimes encore” it’s still Jean-Jacques Goldman who wrote it. He was one of the first to notice the Quebec singer from the 80s.

For their album Goldman asked her to sing differently than she is used to. To sound more French and less from Canada. The album will thus be a huge success and one of the best-selling in the history of French song!

10. Aya Nakamura - DjaDja (2018)

A true French and international phenomenon, Aya Nakamura is one of the most followed and listened to artists in Europe.

Her name is a nod to her favourite character from the Heroes series, Japanese computer scientist Hiro Nakamura, whom Aya Dianioko now calls herself Aya Nakamura on stage.

This song punctuated with certain words that even the French cannot understand speaks of a man who would have betrayed him...

That’s all for today !

Have you enjoyed learning more about French Songs ? Discover our next stories always to learn more about music...

Bryan Kulka

Bryan Kulka

Journaliste international constamment en quête d'évasion. Après avoir exploré l'Amérique Latine et l'Asie, il atterrit aujourd'hui sur la planète Linkaband pour une nouvelle aventure musicale.


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